Kitchen tools and equipment represent a challenge when it’s time for cleaning and sanitizing. You find that they have residues of food and grease and it’s not fun to waste time and energy scrubbing them until you get rid of them.
Sanitizing is important when you are in direct contact with germs and bacteria. This counts pretty much for every single component in your kitchen, cookware, silverware, dishes, and even cleaning tools.
Let’s find out how you can do it!
Cleaning Your Kitchen: First Steps
Before starting to clean all your cookware, a good rule of thumb is to always leave your cleaning agents to act on the surfaces before doing anything. Hot water always helps whatever cleaning product you choose, whether its dishwashing soap, baking soda, vinegar or any other product.
Always use cleaning gloves to protect your skin from chemicals and friction when scrubbing hard.
As far as cleaning agents, there are many different opinions. Some people feel comfortable using industrial, manufactured kitchen cleaning products. Others prefer eco-friendly alternatives. Others like using “general” chemicals such as baking soda and vinegar.
This last option is a good happy medium because they are cheap, effective, and less contaminating than sprays or specialized cleaning products. Plus, you can use them to clean your entire kitchen without needing to buy 5 or 6 different products.
When looking for dish soap, make sure it contains a degreaser (it’s usually citric acid), a surfactant (e.g., coco glucoside) and a component for killing bacteria (e.g., tea tree oil).
Cleaning and Discarding Kitchen Sponges and Towels
First things first: what are you going to use to rub and scrub the food and grease away?
You have so many options! You can either stick to the traditional non-scratch kitchen sponge, or you can use many other tools such as silicone sponges or loofah sponges.
What many people don’t know is how often you should be discarding and cleaning kitchen sponges. According to research, you should discard them at least every 2 weeks. They have the perfect scenario for growing mold and bacteria: an organic source (food residues) and water.
You should clean them in the microwave (always find out if the material is safe to be placed in a microwave) and soak it in water before placing it in the microwave.
On a similar note, your kitchen towels need to be cleaned and disinfected constantly. First, soak them in a pot filled with half a gallon of water and 1/2 cup of vinegar. Place your towels for 15 minutes and then wash them in the washing machine with a hot water setting. Then, dry using again the highest temperature setting.
Make sure you place them in the dryer as soon as they get out of the washing machine. You don’t want them to stay moist because that’s where bacteria might have an opportunity to grow. You should do this at least once a week to keep them nice and fresh.
Once a month, place them in a large pot of boiling hot water for 5 minutes and add one to two tablespoons of baking soda to kill any remaining bacteria and remove odors.
Pots and Pans
Pots and pans are one of the main sources of conflict here. If they are not good quality (or even if they are) sometimes food can burn and get stuck at the bottom. In the worst-case scenario, you get permanent “burns” and it starts to look awful.
Here’s how you can fix it:
If your cookware is stainless steel, the good news is that you can rub and scrub all you want. Soak your pots in hot, soapy water for 10 minutes and then scrub in a soft, circular motion. To remove odor, you can sprinkle baking soda or pour one or two teaspoons of vinegar in each pot.
If they are burnt, sprinkle baking soda on the burnt area and let it sit for 5 minutes. Grab a piece of steel wool and scrub and use it to scrub everything away. Wash with hot soapy water and then rinse to leave everything clean and shiny.
If they are enamel or iron-cast pans, make sure you don’t use metal sponges or that you don’t scrub too hard. In this case, it might be more helpful to boil water using baking soda or dishwashing soap and then wipe everything with a microfiber cloth.
Pro tip: Always use wooden spoons, and use your phone’s timer app to remember checking your stove once in a while!
Cleaning Kitchen Cutlery and Silverware
Sometimes it’s tricky to clean cutlery and silverware. If you don’t take care of them they will start looking dull and showing water spots. For cleaning your silver and stainless steel utensils, mix baking soda and dish soap until you form a paste.
Use a soft toothbrush or nylon scrubber in a soft, circular motion. Rinse with plenty of water and you will have squeaky clean utensils!
If you want a deep cleaning that removes streaks as well, you will need some tin foil and vinegar as well as more baking soda.
Just lay a sheet of tin foil in your sink, shiny side up. Place all your cutlery and silverware and sprinkle baking soda until they are covered. Then, add a cup of vinegar and see the magic! Vinegar and baking soda react when they come into contact, causing bubbles. It’s perfectly safe so there’s no need to worry. Once this happens, wait 5 minutes and pour boiling hot water to reactivate them. Scrub everything out with a soft brush to remove any residues and then rinse with plenty of water.
Pro tip: Beware of peanut (or any kind of nut) butter! They tend to stick really hard and it doesn’t come off in the dishwasher.
Doing the Dishes: Cleaning Smarter, Not Harder
Whether you are cleaning by hand or using the dishwasher, it’s important to take the time off to get rid of the worst. Using hot water will do 50% of the job. It helps to soften everything that has been stuck, especially greasy food. Use a rubber spatula or a non-scratch sponge. As mentioned above, give the dish soap some time to react. Dish detergents have a component called surfactants, which are the ones that separate grease from everything else.
If you leave your dishes in soapy water for 5 to 10 minutes, it will be much faster and easier to clean them.
Remember to tackle your dishes in the first 12 hours. After that, the food scraps will stick even harder because moisture will evaporate by that time. The only thing left will be hard, thick pieces of food that will demand extra energy to remove. Plus, by leaving dirty dishes for so long you might be attracting unwanted guests which is the last thing you want.
Related: How to Clean Major Appliances
Cleaning and Sanitizing Your Dishwasher
Dishwashers make our lives easier by removing the stress of scrubbing and rinsing dishes for hours. But sometimes, it needs some cleaning too! With time, it will gather food and grease residues. Most models come with two filters: a flat, mesh filter and then a cylinder filter underneath that one. They are both located at the bottom of the dishwasher.
The good news is that they can be cleaned usually with a few, simple ingredients. You will only need soapy water, hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar and baking soda.
Where to start? You need to pay special attention to the filter because it’s where all the big residues are gathering with time. To clean your clogged drain filter, start by removing the screen filer and the cylindrical filter. With hot soapy water, remove all debris with the help of an old toothbrush. Scrub softly to avoid damaging the mesh.
Next, it’s time to clean the insides of the dishwasher. Because the residues are often stuck to the surfaces and they’re not quite visible, more like a layer, they need to be softened up beforehand.
Here’s where vinegar and baking soda come into consideration. To remove bacteria and mold, start by removing all racks. Mix half a cup of white vinegar and 2 cups of hot water. Use a spray bottle to apply this mix to all surfaces and then scrub using a large kitchen brush.
Clean your racks by placing them in hot water and then scrub carefully if you see any residues of grease or food. Rinse with plenty of water and put them back on your dishwasher.
Now it’s the time for the deep cleaning. Run two cycles with your dishwasher. For the first one, place one cup of white vinegar on the top rack. Choose the longest time and the hottest temperature setting. Vinegar will help to soften up everything that’s building up and it will fall naturally to the floor of the dishwasher.
For the second one, sprinkle baking soda on the dishwasher floor. Choose the highest temperature setting again, but this time with a short cycle. Scrub anything that you feel like won’t come out easily with an old toothbrush and voilà!
You should clean the gasket seal regularly too. Mold starts growing in wet, dark areas with high humidity. If you live in Dallas, you’ve probably seen that mold and mildew grow faster during winter. This is because the Sun isn’t up as much as during summer and humidity increases.
This is all around the dishwasher door and it’s what helps water stay inside it when it’s on. Just wipe all around the seal with a damp, microfiber cloth. Use your old toothbrush with soapy water to scrub everything out. Spray hydrogen peroxide and let dry. Hydrogen peroxide is able to clean mold on many different surfaces.
There you have it! Now you have all the secrets for cleaning your kitchen cookware, from utensils to pans and pots and dishes. Even cleaning your dishwasher comes with its own instructions.
Remember to plan out your cleaning routine to ensure that you are working smarter and not harder. Soak as many items as possible in hot soapy water to avoid having to scrub for hours. Choose the best cleaning tools and replace them regularly to avoid mold and bacteria growth.
And as always, make sure you check our booking page if you want a professional cleaning staff to take care of your home.